More than 50 councils across the country will share £2.4 million to crack down on rogue landlords, protect private sector tenants and drive up standards across the sector.
Housing Minister Heather Wheeler confirmed the funding for individual councils in mid January, honouring a commitment made late last year. The cash boost will enable local councils to step up action against the minority of landlords who continue to flout the law and force vulnerable tenants such as young families to live in inadequate or unsafe housing.
On average the councils will receive additional funds of just under £50,000 each. As it is a one-off payment, there are no guarantees similar support will be provided in the future.
Authorities receiving the money will be encouraged to share best practice and examples of innovative approaches, to help improve enforcement work in other areas. Among the councils to benefit are:
- Walsall – to improve cross-agency enforcement work, including the innovative use of drones and thermal mapping to identify problem properties;
- Lancaster – to create a training programme for existing enforcement staff across the Lancashire region; and
- Greater London Authority (GLA) and Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) – allocated over £330,000 between them to carry out coordinated work to tackle rogue landlords who operate across multiple local authorities in their regions.
Heather Wheeler said: “Everyone has the right to live in a home that is safe and secure, and it is vital we crack down on the small minority of landlords who are not giving their tenants this security.”
The funds will be used to support a range of projects that councils have said will help them strengthen action against criminal landlords – for example, to build relationships with external organisations such as the emergency services, legal services and local housing advocates.
Councils may also decide to support tenants to take action against poor standards through rent repayment orders, or develop digital solutions, helping officers to report back and make decisions quicker.
By Patrick Mooney, editor